We are coming up on a seismic shift in the Global Church.
Millennials will begin to turn 40 years of age in the next few years and with that, they will begin to take predominant roles of leadership.
Are we ready for what is coming?
This is not something to be afraid of, in fact, I think it is something we should be excited about.
But we need to be ready for what that means and prepared to embrace the changes coming. The Church has been notorious for being behind the curve of change in society.
Let’s not do that this time.
Let’s get in front of the change that’s coming and become the influencers. In this way, we can become more effective in our mission to win souls and make disciples.
Here are 10 changes that I see coming in the next five years:
No. 1 More community, less event.
In the past, the Church has been largely focused on events. We have won souls with crusades, conferences, and Sunday morning services. While events will still play a role, the shift will begin pushing more towards relationships and community than big crowds gathered at special events. People are looking for a place to connect rather than just an event to attend.
Churches will have to shift from being a friendly church to a church where people can make friends.
No. 2 More social media, less broadcast media.
Social media is not something new. However, many churches and people are still using social media platforms in the same way we used TV and newspapers. We still broadcast and advertise events. People are not looking for just information, they are looking to connect. We need to begin inviting them into a conversation instead of just giving them information. The Church will have to shift from advertising its agenda to becoming a part of the conversation.
No. 3 More omnichannel, less centric.
The statistics are alarming. Pastors and churches are reporting that only 30% of their congregation members attend weekly, yet over 80% of churchgoers say they attend weekly. How is this possible?
Churches are only counting the bums in the seats on a Sunday morning, while congregation members are connecting with the church in multiple other ways.
A recent article in a Fox News report shed some light on this growing trend, “An omnichannel approach to church would allow people to fully connect and engage with a church without the need to step inside a physical environment every week. They could attend one Sunday, listen to the message on podcast the following week, watch a live online stream the Sunday after, and catch the message on-demand in a church app the week after that. This shifts the Church from a location-centric approach, to an audience-centric approach that allows people to connect and engage with churches both digitally AND physically.”
Churches need to shift from a centric only model to an omnichannel approach in order to effectively reach people.
No. 4 More charismatic, less attractional.
In recent years, churches that were attractional were growing. While I am not saying we should ditch being attractional, we need to realize that people coming to our churches are expecting to experience God, not just learn about Him. They want to connect with God as much as they are looking to connect with people. This is why I believe that Spirit-Contemporary is the next big move of God in the Church. It is both full-on Holy Spirit and yet contemporary in its approach. (Check out my interview with Leon Fontaine GoCast Ep. 005 to learn more about Spirit Contemporary)
No. 5 More how, less wow.
While part of the event-based, attractional Church has been focused on creating “wow” moments, the future Church will have to focus on teaching. People are looking for “how” to live their lives. The good news is, the Bible is full of how-to’s. The Church will have to shift from more preaching to more teaching.
No. 6 More why, less what.
While people are looking for “how,” they don’t want to be told “what” to do. They want to be taught “why.” When we explain “why,” we get engagement at a deeper level. We grab their hearts not just their heads or hands because now they have motivation for doing the “what.”
No. 7 More real, less right.
In the past, the highest priority for people was the truth. Today, people are less interested in truth and more interested in authenticity. They will listen to the truth if they believe the source is real. Vulnerability is vital in today’s leadership. In the words of Pastor Craig Groeschel,
“People would rather follow a leader who is always real than a leader who is always right.”
No. 8 More curate, less inform.
Today’s young people are the first generation that doesn’t rely on adults for information. They have access to all the information they need on the device in their hands. What they need from adults is interpretation. Their knowledge has no context. Adults must help them make sense of what they know; to help them interpret experiences, relationships, work and faith via a wise, balanced lens. We can’t teach them what to think, but we can teach them how to think. The Church needs to begin looking at ways it can curate information instead of just becoming another source on top of all the other information people are already gathering.
No. 9 More help, less tell.
Jesus went out of His way to help people, often before He taught them. He healed the sick. He fed the hungry. He visited them in their homes. He went to the outcasts and broken. The Church must follow suit. We must become the hands of feet of Jesus before we become his mouthpiece. In Matthew 25, Jesus said “For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.”
In this passage, Jesus listed the six greatest needs of every human being. The need for food, water, companionship, clothing, health, and justice. These are still the greatest needs today. He was also talking to His followers. It is our responsibility to meet these needs in our community. It’s not the responsibility of the government or the Red Cross, it’s the responsibility of the Church. The Church must help meet the needs of the community before it can expect to have a voice in the community.
No. 10 More revolution, less evolution.
In the past, the Church has been behind most change. In other words, it has evolved with the times rather than led the charge. The Church of the future must lead the revolution rather than evolve because it has to.
What else do you see for the Church in the next five years? Comment below! We’d love to hear from you.
For more on this topic, listen to my conversation with Brandon Stewart in GoCast Ep. 011.